BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) is dealing with its first major service outage since John Chen took over as CEO last November, leaving many users in Canada and some Asian-Pacific markets unable to send or receive text messages or emails, reports Will Connors for The Wall Street Journal.
Update: “BlackBerry can confirm that all service issues impacting some users in Canada and the Asia Pacific region have been resolved,” company spokesperson Lisette Kwong said in the statement.
Outage resolved quickly, but the cause was not disclosed
“We can confirm that a service issue is impacting some users in Canada and the Asia Pacific region,” the company said in a statement. “Our technical team has identified the potential cause of the issue and has reduced its impact on customers’ service. The team will continue to work towards a full resolution as quickly as possible. We apologize to any customers who may be affected by this issue.”
Longtime BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) customers may have worried that this would be a repeat of a three-day outage that struck millions of users in 2011, but BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) found the problem and fixed it by the afternoon. Without knowing what caused the service outage (no details have been released) it’s impossible to know whether it should have been avoidable, but the timing is certainly awkward for a company that is trying to regain customers’ trust and rebuild its public image. BlackBerry stock has fallen slightly today, but investors don’t seem to be spooked by the event.
Additional outages could set back turnaround efforts
Although specific Asian countries weren’t named, it would be unfortunate if Indonesia was also hit by the outage as this would be at least their fifth since 2012. The Indonesian government was so frustrated with the interrupted service that it considered sanctions against the company after millions were left without internet access in July last year. Ironically, BlackBerrys are the most widely-sought smartphones in Indonesia regardless of cost (it’s hard to imagine there are many markets where BlackBerrys are more popular than iPhones), but further disruptions could cost the company its lead.
As long as there are no repeat events, a partial outage that lasts less than a day should be forgotten pretty quickly, but BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) needs to be sure that it understands what went wrong and takes steps to prevent any future glitches. The last thing the company needs is for users to believe that it has the most secure platform in the world, but can’t keep the lights on all the time. Even if such an assessment were unfair, BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) can’t afford the bad publicity of multiple technical lapses.